The Oxfordshire Cross Country League staged its first race since the beginning of December on Sunday at the new venue of Cotswold Farm Park. With the venues for rounds 3 and 4 unavailable, Cotswold Farm Park hosted the county championships re- scheduled from round 3.
Bicester AC under 13 boy’s team have faced stiff competition from Radley AC throughout the season but came out on top on Sunday to record Bicester’s first team win in this season’s Oxfordshire League. As the event doubled up as the County event they also took the county team gold medal as well. Lewie Harris, in only his second cross country race for nearly two years, ran superbly to lead the team home in 5th place clocking 12mins 51secs for the 3.14km circuit. This was an improvement of 12 places on his previous best Oxfordshire League placing. William Morris recorded his 3rd consecutive top ten placing of the season in 9th (13mins 18secs) with the team’s placings completed by Jago Newton in 10th (13mins 24secs). Bicester’s strength in depth in this age group was underlined by Bicester’s B team taking bronze in the county event. Team finishers were George Hart in 19th (14mins 26secs), Erlgean Appiahkorang-Mensah 22nd (14mins 28secs) and Max Finnegan 23rd (14mins 28secs).
The under 13 girl’s also enjoyed a fine day with the team finishing in 2nd behind a strong Oxford City AC team which was also good enough for the silver in the county team event. The team was led home by Ella Myers – Finnegan, who produced her best run of the season finishing in 8th place and clocking 15mins 8secs for the 3.14km circuit. The scoring team was completed by Amber Busby, who managed to finish in front of teammate Abigail Jones on this occasion, in 10th (15mins 33secs) with Jones close behind in 11th (15mins 35secs). Bicester’s other finishers were Eloise Le Monnier in 24th (18mins 18secs) with Evie Jasper one second behind in 25th.
Bicester’s sole individual medallist on the day was Edward Jolliffe who took the bronze in the under 20 county event. This was run as part of the senior race held over an 8.25km circuit. Not for the first time this season, Jolliffe was the leading runner amongst the Bicester based clubs competing placing 33rd in 33mins 19secs. Paul Jones has put together some consistent performances and he was next Bicester runner home in 168th (43mins 35secs). Chris Murphy performed well, on what was his cross-country debut, to cross the line in 204th (49mins 05secs) with Tom Gould, in his second outing of the season, not far behind Murphy in 206th (49mins 22secs). The team placings were completed by Arran Critchley, who kept up his record of finishing in all of this season’s Oxfordshire and Chiltern League races, placing 218th (51mins 06secs).
Finlay Colverson- Martin just missed out on a county medal in the under 17 men’s race. Colverson-Martin finished 4th in what was a strong heat clocking 22mins 26secs for 5.87km circuit. Ben Groves was Bicester’s other finisher placing 18th in 29mins 38secs.
There was a strong contingent of Bicester runners in the under 9 mixed boy and girl race run over 1.165km. Jack Murphy was Bicester’s top finisher taking 5th in the mixed event league race, a position he occupied in the boy’s county event. Nancy Alcraft was 9th finisher in the mixed league race and second girl league finisher. She was also 4th finisher in the under 9 girl’s county event. Evie Lewis was 3rd girl finisher in the league race taking 11th in the mixed event. Other Bicester finishers were Shay Gallagher who was 13th in the mixed event with Evie O Callaghan in 18th place.
Edward Styles has been competing well in the Chiltern League and switched to the Oxfordshire League on this occasion to finish 14th in a very competitive under 11 boy’s field. He stopped the clock at 6mins 40 secs for the 1.575km circuit. Cyrus Ariana ran up to his best form to finish 30th (7mins 33secs). He was only just in front of Finlay Haynes who was 32nd just 2 seconds adrift (7mins 35secs). The Bicester placings were completed by Cameron Waters in 43rd (9mins 06secs).
Bicester finished a team in the under 15 boy’s race contested over a course of 4.45km. Thomas Styles and Owen Stocker have had some close battles in the Chiltern League and they transferred that rivalry to this contest. Both were placed in the top half of finishers with Styles just ahead of Stocker in 13th place (19mins 36secs). Stocker was 14th (19mins 58secs) and the team finishers were completed by Stanley Critchley in 30th (30mins 45secs).
Bicester had just one finisher in the under 11 girl’s race where Sophie Lewis performed well to take 14th position in 7mins 17secs run over a 1.575km circuit. Bethany Wetton was Bicester’s sole competitor in the under 15 girl’s race (4.59km) finishing 24th in 30mins 46secs. And Emily Benfield finished 120th in the senior lady’s race (8.25km) clocking 55mins 24secs.
Written by N Dolden